DISCLAIMER: Not mine, never were. Making no money, I'm dirt poor.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Someone asked for this a while ago and I did say I take requests, so, while it does sometimes take a while...here ya go. Timeline is as this- after graduating, Sam and Brooke took a year before college and did nothing or something, then about 6 years of college and then another 7 or so before this story. That would make Mac about 15, I think and Sam and Brooke and the gang 32? Does that sound right? Well, go with it for story's sake.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You
By Aeryn Sun


"Mommy's home! Mommy's home!" the six year old boy exclaimed as he bounded out the front door to greet the car in the driveway. Dark hair and dark eyes he closely resembled the `Mommy' in question, both in appearance and temperment.

"Joseph, you be careful," his other parent warned from the kitchen. The warning went unheeded though as Joey, as he was known as, ran to the car and was happily scooped up into the arms of his mother.

"Mommy, you're home!" Joey happily greeted his mother with a big slobbery kiss on the cheek. Sam laughed.

"Of course I'm home, Joey. It's your big day, isn't it? How old are you today? Five?" Joey glared at her with all the fire a six-year-old can muster.

"'M six, Mommy. Five years olds are babies," he informed her defiantly. Sam looked suitably chastized.

"Sorry, Joey. Six. Got it," she corrected herself with a smirk.

"Sammy, watch your back," Brooke warned from the doorway of the house. Sam smiled in greeting.

"Hey beautiful," she said as she walked over to Brooke and kissed her, Joey still in her arms. "My back is fine," she whispered although she did feel a bit of a twinge. Brooke rolled her eyes. The years had been kind to Brooke, she'd barely aged a day since graduating high school fourteen or so years ago, save for a more refined look to her face a few laugh lines. Same went for Sam.

"Fine, but don't expect a backrub from me later if you overdo it," Brooke sighed. Sam looked at Joey.

"Momma's being a little overprotective of Mommy today, isn't she?" she asked her son. Joey rolled his eyes and nodded.

"Uh-huh. OK, put me down Mommy, `fore she gets really mad," Joey said as Sam set him down. Sam swallowed a giggle. For a six-year-old, Joey was awful bright and knew both his mothers very well.

"Oh, you two are funny," Brooke said sarcastically although she was smiling. "Fun-ny." Sam gave her another, longer and more passion filled kiss.

"How are you today, Princess?" she asked. Brooke smiled.

"Everything's good. Everything's still going according to plan," she shot a look at Joey who was now sitting on the couch next to his sister C.J. Sam smiled.

"And how are our other rugrats since I left this morning?"

"C.J. has been rooted to the T.V. and Henry has been in his playpen keeping himself occupied." Sam wrapped her arms around Brooke's waist.

"Who would have thought that one day we'd have the little house with the white picket fence, the dog and two point five kids playing in the backyard?" she asked slightly in awe. Brooke laughed.

"I think when he's old enough, Henry might resent you referring to him as the point five part of our children, Sammy," they both laughed. But Sam had meant it. When they first got together after Nicole had nearly killed her, Sam couldn't see her life without Brooke. And there were times when they both thought that despite their love that they were't going to make it past the obstacles in their way and yet here they were.

After college, which was an experience in itself, they'd gotten a small house together as Sam worked as a freelance journalist and Brooke began her career as a teacher. It soon became apparent that they both wanted more. So after discussing it with their parents, they flew to Vermont and got married, one of the single happiest days of their lives. All of their friends were there, even if some were happier then others. Mike was happy to give his daughter away having come to terms with the whole relationship while the girl's were in college, Jane got to be Mother of the bride twice and Mackenzie thought the whole thing was cool.

After that, the next logical step was a family and they both wanted one. Logistical problems aside and many doctor's visits later, it was decided that Sam would have the first child since Brooke was a little thin at the time and had just gotten a permanent job that they didn't want to threaten it with having to ask for maturnity leave. Sam had had a somewhat uneventful pregnancy up until the eighth month when her back went out. The doctors said that the injuries she sustained when Nicole had hit her years ago were a big factor. Sam was forced into bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy. It was a scary time for Sam and Brooke but they made it through and Joseph Michael McQueen-McPherson was born hale and healthy.

Two years later, Brooke gave birth to Clarise Jane McQueen-McPherson, named for Harrison's hospital roommate and guardian angel. Mike bought them a larger house to celebrate the birth and almost three years after that along came Henry James, also carried by Brooke. And Sam almost lost Brooke that last time. Complications during his delivery almost killed Brooke but she managed to pull through and Sam thanked God everyday for that. Raising three children on her own without Brooke by her side was not a future Sam wanted to face.

"How long before everyone gets here?" Sam asked as she hugged Brooke to her. She buried her nose in the sea of blonde hair and sighed contentedly. She loved her life. No longer a freelance journalist, Sam owned and ran her own small but growing magazine company that was both online and off. It was different, difficult and challenging and she loved every second of it. Brooke was now a part-time kindergarten teacher and full-time mom. Brooke smiled at the sigh.

"They'll be here around four, which is in half an hour," she answered as she shifted so that they were face to face. Her expression turned serious. "Except Harrison." Sam frowned. They'd seen less and less of Harrison especially after Joey was born. While he'd tried his best to be supportive, the fact that the two girls he'd loved were in love with each other was a wound that never really healed over for him and he drifted away.

"Stupid little prick," Sam spat angrily. Brooke rubbed her shoulders.

"Sam," she said soothingly. Sam blinked away tears.

"No, Brooke, don't defend him. AGAIN. This isn't about you or me or him, this is about a little boy who loves his `Uncle Harrison' and wants him here for his birthday! God, can't Harrison get over his little ego problems for one fucking day?" Sam ranted in an angry whisper.

"Sam," Brooke started again in the same calm soothing voice. "He called and talked to Joey. Yes, Joey was upset but he understands, at least as much as a six-year-old can. And he promised to send his present Priority Mail tomorrow."

"It's not the same," Sam lamented quietly. Brooke kissed her gently.

"I know but there's nothing we can do to change him, we tried, remember?"

"Momma?" a little voice called from the doorway. Sam and Brooke turned to see C.J. standing in the door with her sippy cup in one hand. She was the mirror image of a mini Brooke, blonde and blue eyed. Brooke smiled.

"Yes, C.J.?"

"Can I have some more juice?" C.J. asked quietly. She was a very quiet child, something that at first had bothered Sam and Brooke until the doctors assured them that there was nothing wrong with her, she was just shy. They had Joey, a rolling bundle of energy on a twenty-four hour fuse, C.J., a people watcher, and Henry, who was anyone's guess at this point.

"Sure, honey, come here," Brooke said as C.J. padded over. Brooke picked her up and set her on the counter. C.J. stared at Sam for a second.

"Why are you crying Mommy?" she asked with the innocence of a four-year-old. Sam smiled and shrugged.

"I'm just happy, sugar," Sam lied. C.J. frowned.

"Momma says lying is wrong," she said. Sam shot a look at Brooke who was trying not to laugh.

"She has you there," Brooke pointed out as she handed C.J. her juice.

"OK, Momma's right, lying is wrong, C.J. I'm upset that Uncle Harrison won't be here for Joey's party." C.J. nodded.

"Oh, OK," she said simply. The answer seemed to satisfy her so she said nothing else.

"Anybody home?" another voice called from the livingroom.

"Aunt Mac! Aunt Mac!" Joey could be heard yelling in the next room. C.J.'s eyes grew wide and she scrambled to get off the counter.

"Easy squirt before you hurt yourself," Sam said as she helped her daughter to the floor. C.J. took off for the livingroom and ran straight into Mac. Taller than Sam and lanky like Brooke, she was a strange combination of both girls. Brown hair, green eyes and a devilish smirk greeted Sam and Brooke.

"Guess what I got?" Mac asked. Sam and Brooke looked at each other in confusion.

"Last time she said something she said something like that it was the chicken pox," Sam said cautiously. Brooke giggled and Mac rolled her eyes.

"Oh for God's sake," she sighed. She reached into her pocket and held up a piece of paper triumphantly. "I got my learner's permit!" Brooke walked over and gave her little sister a hug.

"That's terrific, Mac!" she said in congratulations.

"Ug, both Mac AND Nicole as licensed driver's? I'm staying home," Sam joked. Mac gave her a dirty look and wagged a finger at her.

"Y'know, there are days when I really don't like you," she said sarcastically. Sam looked at her with an innocent (Who Me?) expression on her face. "Now, for instance. And anytime I have to fill out my full name on anything. MacKenzie McPherson McQueen, what were you thinking?" Sam laughed.

"I was going for alliteration," she joked. Mac rolled her eyes.

"Gee, thanks. I'm sure your children will thank you later in life as well," she scoffed.

"Seriously, congrats, Mac. Seems like just yesterday we delivered you," Sam laughed. Mac groaned.

"Another story that just won't die," she sighed. C.J. pulled at her pant leg.

"Are Gramma and Granpa with you?" she asked. Mac shook her head.

"Grandma dropped me off but you'll see her this weekend at the famliy party, remember?" C.J. nodded.

"Mac, could you check on Henry for me?" Brooke asked as she checked on Joey's cake, which was in the oven. "Sammy, get your fingers out of the frosting." Sam jumped back from the bowl of frosting like she'd been electrocuted. Mac laughed.

"Ha ha, snagged, Sam. Sure Brooke. Come on, C.J., let's go check on Hank," she took C.J. by the hand and went into the livingroom.

"I was just having a taste," Sam said dejectedly as she walked over to Brooke, pout firmly in place. Brooke shook her head.

"Uh-uh, not gonna work, McPherson. Pout all you want, as sexy as you are it's not going to work today. We have guests arriving soon." Sam's pout deepened and Brooke gave in enough to give her a fervent kiss. "Now, help me finish the cake before everyone gets here."

Sugar Daddy arrived first with his wife Arriana and his four girls and one son. He'd met Arriana in college and gotten married shortly after. They were very happy even if he did kind of wish he had more boys. His one son, Eric, 7, was a bookworm, thin and sickly, not an athletic child. Sugar, or Mike as he was now for the most part known as, became a football coach at a local high school. Their oldest girl, Casey, was 11, then there was, in order, Pamela, 10 and the twins, Alicia and Bianca, 8.

Josh and Lily arrived next. To everyone's surprise, including their own, they were still together. Lily had become a lawyer with political ties, and Josh was a physical therapist specializing in sports injuries. They had three children, Josh Jr, or J.J. who was born a year after high school. He was a perfect mix of his parents, Josh's athletic build, his mother's complexion; dark hair, light eyes, studious mind and compassionate nature. All the girls were ga ga over him, even Mac who was only a couple of years older than him. Casey had a crush on him too. But J.J. was too sweet to notice. Not stupid, but sweet. Sam and Brooke joked that between him, Mac and Casey, it was a very strange love triange.

Josh and Lily had two girls, Shelly, who was a bit of a snob unless her parents were reining her in, which they did VERY often, and Claudia, who was every inch a Latina spitfire. J.J. was constantly keeping his youngest sister out of trouble while she constantly sought it out. Lily and Josh were still trying to figure her out.

Mary Cherry couldn't make the party, having recently usurped control of her mother's empire and there was work to be done. Not that anyone was really going to miss her plus she had sent Joey an expensive gift that Sam had tried to send back but Brooke wouldn't let her. But what was a six-year-old going to do with a 1960's model Ford Mustang convertible?

Carmen arrived next, solo. She had been married and divorced, twice. She was a psychiatrist that used music to promote emotional healing. She also specialized in promoting healthy self-image and sometimes enlisted Brooke's help in talking to high schools about the dangers of eating disorders. She had no children and sometimes lamented that fact but doted on Sam and Brooke's three as well as Lily and Josh's like they were her own.

Arriving last, and fashionably late, was Nicole and her significant other, Angel. Nicole had become a fashion designer of moderate success, not that she really needed to work given her family's money and had actually met Angel through Sam. Angel was Sam's business partner. Nic had no children and no real plans on having any, but like Carmen, she loved Sam's and Brooke's.

The party progressed well with children of varying ages running through the house shrieking like banshees although above it all you could hear J.J. and Mac yelling at them to behave. Joey got every gift on his list and then some and eventually all the kids were put to bed, except the older ones who were sat in the den with the DVD player and a few movies.

"Mommy, could you come tell me a story?" Joey asked from the doorway. Sam put down her beer and excused herself from her assembled friends.

"Pardon me, guys, duty calls," she smirked. The other faces smiled back. She grabbed her son's hand and led him back to his room.

"You two certainly have it good," Nicole said after Sam faded from view. Brooke grinned and nodded.

"Yeah, long road though," she agreed.

"Would you change any of it?" Carmen asked. Brooke frowned and thought a minute. She shook her head.

"You know what? No, no I wouldn't."

"What story do you want to hear tonight, Pumpkin?" Sam asked as she tucked Joey back in and C.J. crawled into her lap. Joey yawned.

"The one where Aunt Nicole tried to hit Momma but you stopped her," he answered. Sam frowned.

"It bothers me that you like that story so much, Joseph," she said solemnly as C.J. started to play with her long hair. Joey shook his head.

"I don't like that you got hurt, Mommy, honest. That's the bad part of the story cuz I never wan' ta see you hurt. But that's when Momma became your Princess an' I like that part." Sam smiled at him.

"Your Momma was always my Princess, I was just never brave enough to tell her," Sam explained.

"Why?" C.J. asked. Sam winced. That was something both children were too young to understand just now. She'd have to try a different, but no less true explaination.

"Your Momma was always the most beautiful person I'd ever known. She was kind and sweet and sensitive and we didn't get along," she started.

"Why?" C.J. asked again. Sam sighed.

"Because she had everything I didn't. I was jealous. Anyway, there were always people around her, who wanted to be around her and I could never get near her."

"Until Grandma and Grandpa got married?" Joey asked. He understood that part having heard the story.

"Right, then we were forced into the same house and I got to know your Momma better but I still couldn't tell her she was my Princess."

"Why?" C.J. again.

"C.J., honey, find a new question, that one's getting old," Sam asked. Brooke stifled a giggle from where she stood outside the door. `Why' was C.J.'s favorite question. "So, we were living in the same house getting closer but I never thought your Momma would feel for me what I felt for her and before you ask, C.J.," C.J.'s mouth was half open to ask her three letter question.

"It's because she could have had anyone she wanted, why would she want me? I was just plain old me, Sam. Why would she love me?"

"And then Aunt Nicki tried to hurt her and you saved her," Joey said with a child's innocence. Sam smiled slightly.

"That was only part of it, Joey. I guess the beginning of the long road we ended up on. Eventually I was able to tell her and now here we are," Sam ended happily.

"'M glad you're here, Mommy," Joey said sleepily as he closed his eyes.

"Me too, Birthday boy," Sam whispered as she kissed her son on the head and picked C.J. up and put her in her bed. "Ready to sleep, Squirt?" C.J. nodded.

"Night, Mommy," C.J. whispered.

"Night, sleep tight," Sam whispered. She shut the door after making sure the nightlight was on and turned around into Brooke.

"Hey, Princess, fancy meeting you here," she said as she leaned in for a kiss.

"Fancy that," Brooke answered when they separated. "I love you, you know." Sam smirked.

"I hope so for the sake of the time you've invested," she joked. Brooke sighed and rolled her eyes.

"I'm being serious," she pointed out annoyed. Sam's smirk faded.

"I know, I'm sorry. And I love you too. I take it you were listening?" Brooke nodded.

"Yes, you still don't get it do you?" Sam shrugged.

"I still wonder sometimes," she admitted quietly. "I mean, I don't doubt it, please don't ever think that. I know you love me, I just don't understand why out of all your choices, why me?"

"Why not?" Brooke asked. "Oh, Sammy, you are so much more than you give yourself credit for. Smart, funny, sexy, beautiful, and so much more that. Words can't describe it because there are no words for it," Brooke tried to explain. She picked up Sam's left hand and held it in her own, entwining their fingers in such a way so that their wedding bands touched.

"I love you Sam, forever and ever, to infinity and back. There is no other but you. Like these rings, my love has no beginning and it certainly has no end. Forever, Sam." Sam wiped away her tears with her free hand and smiled.

"Forever, Brooke."

"Come on, we've got some old friends waiting for us downstairs. The ones that matter at least," Brooke said with a tug on Sam's hand. With one last glance at the door to their children's room, Sam followed her wife downstairs.

Sam woke with a start, sitting straight up in bed, her brain foggy. Brooke stirred beside her.

"What, Sammy?" she asked groggily. "Nightmare?" Sam turned to look at her in the darkness. Even sleep rumpled, Brooke was beautiful. Of course, that's not what caught Sam's attention. The fact that Brooke was several years younger did.

"Uh, no," Sam managed through her confusion. Brooke sat up, more awake now.

"Well, what was it? You look like you've seen a ghost." Sam shook her had.

"Humor me, Brooke, what's the date?" Brooke looked at her strangely.

"Are you OK?" a hint of worry creeping into her tone. Sam sighed.

"The date Brooke," she asked again. Brooke shrugged and looked over at the clock.

"Since it's after midnight, it's November 14th, 2001. Why?" Sam shook her head.

"Whoa, that was intense," she whispered. Brooke wrapped her arms around Sam's shoulders.

"What was `intense', Sammy?" Sam turned to her with a wide grin.

"Do you believe in precognition?" Sam asked. Brooke arched an eyebrow.

"I suppose anything's possible, why?" Sam looked at the ring finger on her left hand, which felt oddly naked. She smiled again.

"If anything's possible, Princess, than THAT was a definite possibilty," she said with a laugh and laid back down, taking Brooke with her.

"A possibility, huh?" Brooke asked as she snuggled closer.

"A wonderful, great, definite possibilty," Sam told her as she closed her eyes.

"Sounds like a good dream," Brooke said.

"It is," Sam agreed. They were quiet for a few minutes and Sam thought Brooke had fallen asleep again.

"Hey, Sam, what do you think of the name Clarise if we ever have a girl?" Brooke asked. Sam didn't answer but the grin on her face nearly split her head in two as she fell asleep a few moments later.

The End

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